Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Yee King Northern Chinese Noodle and Dumpling joint

Just a little hole in the wall on Sussex St., almost opposite the illustrious (and astronomically more pricy) Golden Century, is this little carbohydrate heaven with photographs of its famous dishes lined up along the glass front and mounted triumphantly on the restaurant walls. Small tables, wooden stools, and a décor that isn’t really intended to make you want to linger over your lightning speed-served meals. None of this matters when you have dumplings and noodles on the brain. Which we have. We are single minded and don’t even bother to look at the specials or the rest of the menu. Almost before we grab our stools we order up a plate of pork and chive pan fried dumplings as they take about 10-15 minutes to cook fresh.

The noodles are made out back too, so to accompany the dumplings we have prawn noodles with XO sauce, and a plate of salt and pepper calamari. Both arrive pronto and fresh from the wok, the slippery thick noodles coated with lip-slurpingly unctuous sticky sweet sauce, studded with medium sized prawns. The calamari is hot and flash fried, garnished with garlic, chilli and green onions.

But then the treat we’ve made our pilgrimage for – the fat pillows ‘with little burnt bottoms’ (as G calls them). Black vinegar and soy adorn every table to dress these little babies, and if you ask, a small dish of incendiary chilli sauce is ferried to your table to accompany. It is an art to eat your dumpling without either dripping the exploding sweet juices down your own chin and onto your shirt, or squirting your fellow diners with a projectile of steaming liquid across the tiny tables and branding them with dumpling juice for the rest of the afternoon. But who cares – they taste so good you can wear a dumpling or noodle accident badge with pride and make the rest of your compatriots green with envy at what you’ve lunched on!

All the above, including tea and two Tsing Tao beers, for $45. Easily enough to satiate the three of us. But after loading up on carbs it’s away to walk off lunch in Hyde Park and the Botanic Gardens, which almost makes a dumpling pig-out part of a virtuous outing.

408 Sussex St., Haymarket.
Open 7 days 11am – 10.30pm

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